AVMA presents 2 service awards at Global Health reception

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Cathy King, DVM, PhD, MS, the founder and CEO of World Vets; and Joni Scheftel, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, retired state public health veterinarian with the Minnesota Department of Health, were presented with trophies during the 2024 AVMA Convention event.

A pair of esteemed veterinarians was celebrated on Monday, June 24, 2024, for their commitment and contributions to the profession. At the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Convention in Austin, Texas, both honorees were presented with glass trophies by Rena Carlson, DVM, the AVMA’s 2023-2024 president, during the association’s Global Health Summit Networking Reception.

Cathy King, DVM, PhD, MS, the founder and CEO of World Vets, received the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award. This honor recognizes an AVMA member for outstanding service to the international understanding of veterinary medicine, according to the association.1

Joni Scheftel, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, retired state public health veterinarian with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), received the AVMA Public Service Award. This recognition honors an AVMA member for outstanding public service or contributions to the practice or science of public health and regulatory veterinary medicine, according to the association.2

The AVMA named both veterinarians as award recipients on June 11, 2024.1,2 The subsequent reception in Austin was a celebratory affair with included food and drinks. The event allowed King and Scheftel to receive formal recognition and accolades from members of the veterinary community in attendance.

2024 AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award

Photos by Kristen Coppock, MA/dvm360

Cathy King, DVM, PhD, MS, the founder and CEO of World Vets, was presented with the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award on Monday, June 24, 2024, in Austin, Texas.

AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award

World Vets, which King established in 2006, is now one of the largest global veterinary aid organizations, according to the AVMA.1 “Dr King and her teams have advanced the modern health profession and veterinary professionals and students through the perspective of global volunteerism and education. She grew her vision for global veterinary medicine out of the donation jar in her Deer Park, Washington, veterinary clinic to help street dogs in Mexico,” Carlson told reception attendees.

The organization is credited with providing veterinary care around the world to hundreds of thousands of animals, protecting biodiversity in the Galapagos Islands, running rabies vaccination campaigns in endemic areas of the world, establishing the World Vets Latin America Veterinary Training Center, partnering with the US Navy for humanitarian aid missions, and launching the Marine Mammal Rescue and Response Program in Washington, according to an AVMA news release.1

“World Vets has a strong One Health focus and its global health programs help animals, people and the communities in which they live. They also provide veterinary support, technical response and urgent care for wild, marine mammals in the Pacific Northwest. As an organization driven by its members and our volunteers, the AVMA knows the importance of volunteer service… Dr King, through World Vets, has built a dedicated legion of volunteers committed to the organization's mission and purpose,” Carlson continued in her speech.

In accepting the award, King said she was surprised but honored to receive it. “World Vets wouldn't be what it is today without the more than 3000 veterinarian professionals who volunteer with us. This award belongs to them as much as it belongs to me, because they are really the ones who are out working in the trenches every day and making all of these things happen,” King said. “It's such an important field to work in, and I'm just truly inspired by all the things that I do every day.”

Joni Scheftel, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Joni Scheftel, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, addresses reception attendees while receiving her award.

AVMA Public Service Award

Scheftel led the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the MDH and was a liaison with other Minnesota agencies for animal agriculture issues affecting humans. Her team of veterinarians and epidemiologists conducted zoonotic disease surveillance, investigated outbreaks, and responded to zoonotic public health crises, according to the AVMA.2

Outside her role with the MDH, Scheftel served as president of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, president of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, cochair of the United States Animal Health Association One Health Committee, Minnesota representative to the AVMA House of Delegates, chair of the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials, and chair of the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials.2

"Dr Scheftel's dedication to veterinary public health over the past two decades has been truly remarkable. Her unwavering commitment to both animal and human health have set a high standard for public service," Carlson said in a news release.2

“In 2020, we also recognized Dr Scheftel for her efforts and enthusiasm in mentoring students and younger colleagues, thereby helping to strengthen and maintain veterinary public health workforce,” Carlson added while presenting the AVMA Public Service Award.

Scheftel said receiving the award was “the honor of a lifetime” as she thanked her supporters. “This award is about public practice in government service. But I really believe that all veterinary medicine is about service and helping people. You help people, no matter where you're working, in veterinary medicine, using your insights about animals, in your knowledge of veterinary medicine. And in my life, I've spent half in private practice and half in public practice, and I love them equally, and I don't see a huge distinction,” she said.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I'm over the top passionate about veterinary medicine in our profession. I think it's the most challenging and rewarding profession,” she added. “And veterinarians, as people, never cease to amaze, and that's one reason I love professional veterinary medicine so much.”

References

  1. Dr. Cathy King named recipient of 2024 AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. June 11, 2024. Accessed June 25, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/dr-cathy-king-named-recipient-2024-avma-global-veterinary-service-award
  2. Dr. Joni Scheftel named recipient of 2024 AVMA Public Service Award. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. June 11, 2024. Accessed June 25, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/dr-joni-scheftel-named-recipient-2024-avma-public-service-award
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